Album: DEXTRO – Winded (16K 16K002 2009)

dextro

2007’s Consequence Music was a glorious mix of analogue and electronic elements. Ewan Mackenzie’s second LP as Dextro, Winded, tilts the balance more towards live instrumentation, with plucked acoustic guitar, shimmering electric and drums all to the fore. Comparisons to Boards of Canada are less apt than they were for the previous record. Instead, this has the same lustrous, cinematic flavour of European acts such as M83 and Port-Royal.

Whilst it’s undoubtedly an enjoyable listen, many of the tracks aren’t particularly distinctive. The lush atmospherics and languid shuffle are allied with melodies that are pleasing but fairly ephemeral. It’s self-effacing music that acts like a relaxing balm rather than grabbing the attention. Pleasant and nice aren’t the sort of adjectives that set the pulse racing, but it’s hard to avoid them in this instance.

A few tracks do stand out. “The Unknown” is an interlude of mournful acoustic and angelic synth washes, whilst longest track “Momentary” introduces a muted vocal not unlike Jonsi Birgisson’s, coupled with a more muscular (and memorable) tune. Winded is by no means a bad record. It has a slightly melancholic grandeur about it that brings to mind sweeping vistas. It’s the sort of album you find yourself playing a lot, even though little of it really sticks in the mind. It’s easy on the ear, and has a yearning, wistful quality, but ultimately it doesn’t completely engage the attention.

The limited CD version of Winded comes in a digipack with a booklet of some stunning landscape photography. It’s also available as a download, and comes out on June 1st.

Tracks
1 Closer 6:32
2 The Pacifist 6:32
3 Momentary 7:38
4 The Unknown 3:07
5 Ilm 4:38
6 Sanna 4:21
7 Ring Cycle 4:50
8 Pillar 5:56
9 Distance 3:47

Websites
dextro.co.uk

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